Large electric trucks are easy to get excited about. They can cut a lot of emissions — CO2 emissions as well as other types of pollution that cause cancer, asthma, and various other human ailments and death. This is why, since the Tesla Semi was unveiled in 2017, many of us have been eagerly awaiting commercial production. While we are still waiting for that, Mercedes-Benz has just announced that it has begun production of its own large electric truck, the eEconic. (I agree — that’s a really confusing name.) This is not a long-haul semi truck, but I’ll get to that Mercedes-Benz truck at the end of the piece after other electric truck and electric truck charging news from Mercedes-Benz.
The eEconic is now in series production in Wörth, a small town in Germany that fewer than 20,000 people call home. It may not be Austin, Texas, or Berlin, Germany, but it will get the job done.
Note that the eEconic is not a long-haul semi truck. It’s an inner-city truck targeted at municipal uses. This model supplements and follows the Mercedes-Benz eActros, which is an electric truck for urban use that was released in October 2021.
“The eEconic was developed together with customers and, following intensive test series, has been undergoing practical trials with customers since May 2022,” Mercedes-Benz writes. “The first vehicle from series production will be handed over to Urbaser A/S, a company operating in the waste disposal sector in Denmark. Other customers have already opted for the series-production eEconic. The vehicles are to be delivered successively over the course of the year.”
Aside from the eEconic and eActros, other trucks that are produced at the Wörth Daimler Truck factory include the Econic, Unimog, and Zetros. In total, 470 trucks can be produced at the facility each day. How long until all of those are electric? That’s well over 100,000 trucks a year. We don’t know, and we don’t know how many electric trucks are being built today, but it’s surely a slow start or we’d know more. What we do know is that Daimler Truck aims to sell only CO2-neutral vehicles in North America, Europe, and Japan starting in 2039, and then hit that achievement globally in 2050. We’re a long way off if that’s the case. …
But that’s not all.
eActros Moves Up
Regarding the aforementioned eActros, Mercedes-Benz Trucks just announced some updates on this electric truck. It is now approved for us “as a truck-and-trailer combination with a total weight of 40 tons,” and it can already be ordered with this trailer add-on. On the new offering, one customer expressed why this meant so much to it: “The eActros as a truck-and-trailer combination is ideal for our purposes,” Rainer Schmitt, Managing Partner at Logistik Schmitt, said. “In combination with the trailer, the electric truck now not only offers a higher total weight, but also significantly more transport volume. This means we can transport twice as many load carriers on the same trips.”
Mercedes-Benz Trucks uses the eActros for some of its own routes as part of long-term testing. Since 2019, it has covered 70,000 km (43,500 miles) in 7,000 trips with the electric truck.
And what’s the range of the eActros? Here are range and battery details: “The batteries of the eActros comprise either three (eActros 300) or four battery packs (eActros 400), each of which offers an installed capacity of 112 kWh and a usable capacity of around 97 kWh. With four battery packs, the eActros 400 has a range of up to 400 kilometers.”
It can charge at up to 160 kW, or simply and practically put, it can take an hour to go from 20% battery capacity to 80% battery capacity if charging at 400 amps.
Where & How to Charge Those Big Electric Trucks?
To help with charging, customer testing, and so on, Mercedes-Benz Trucks has set up an eTruck Charging Park in Wörth. “At the eTruck Charging Park, electric truck customers can now test charging stations and charging concepts from various manufacturers as well as work with on-site experts from Mercedes-Benz Trucks to develop tailor-made charging solutions for their respective applications. Charging technology is provided for testing and combined with a comprehensive range of consulting services to help customers move smoothly into e-mobility,” the German giant writes.
At the moment, there are 6 charging stations onsite from different companies. They range from 40 kW to 300 kW in power capacity.
Long-Haul Electric Truck from Mercedes-Benz
Developing a long-haul electric truck is probably the toughest matter in this emerging sector. But the work is underway. And it seems Mercedes-Benz may be racing Tesla to market in this segment.
The Mercedes-Benz eActros LongHaul truck is under development and should be released in 2022. So far, five prototypes have been built for testing. “For the important long-haul segment the eActros LongHaul, with a range of around 500 kilometers on one battery charge, is scheduled to be ready for series production in 20×24.”
For more details on the eEconic news, here’s the Mercedes-Benz press release.
For more details on the eActros news, click here.
More information on the eTruck Charging Park can be found here.
For more info and quotes on the long-haul electric truck update, well, you know what to do.
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